Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Italian Cousins through DNA and Genealogical Research

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botto-home-in-italy-san-colombano-certenoli-ge-italy

San Colombano Certenoli GE, Italy By Davide Papalini (mio lavoro) [GFDL Commonshttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Val_Fontanabuona-IMG_0568.JPG

I suspect I am not alone in being surprised, when we have researched for years already, that breakthroughs in our genealogical research bring us exciting new family information, and if we are really lucky, new cousins! Especially, when it is not really due to our own work, but a gift of someone else’s hard work! That happened to me in just the last three weeks when a woman named Karen Migliori got in touch with me on ancestry to tell me that my DNA matched her husband’s Italian line of ancestors whose DNA and family tree she administered. I was so excited, because I knew very little about the Italian line of my mother’s family except for those who had lived in Richmond, Virginia, USA where I was born and raised. My DNA results said I was 5% Italian, and I was so happy to learn that. My mother often talked of her Italian grandmother, Mary Catherine Botto, who married her grandfather James Henry Kearse, who was Irish. Even though I am 15% Irish, I have always felt an affinity and affection for the Italian passions I inherited.

When I started my family genealogical research, I was thrilled to get my Italian line together, even if only through my second great grandparents who immigrated from Italy to America, settling in Virginia. Lewis Botto, 1831- bef. 1866, of San Colombano Certenoli (GE), Italy, married Catharina Revaro, 1825-1903 of Genoa, Genova, Italy. They married in Richmond, Virginia in 1853. Notice that from this marriage record, I learned the names of Lewis’s parents, my third great grandparents, Lawrence and Mary Botto (Lorenzo and Maria Rosa Costa Botto).Louis Botte (Lewis Botto)

_______________________________________
In the Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940

Name: Louis Botte (Botto)
Gender: Male
Age: 21
Birth Date: 1832
Birth Place: ItalyMarriage Date: 3 Sep 1853
Marriage Place: Richmond, Virginia

Father: Lawrence Botte (Lorenzo Botto)
Mother: Mary (Maria Rosa Costa)

Spouse: Catharine Rivers (Revaro)

FHL Film Number: 31855
Reference ID: P1 #39

_______________________________
Together, Lewis and Catharina Botto had two children, James Lewis Botto, 1857-1923, and Mary Catherine Botto, 1858-1906. Mary Catherine as I said before, married James H. Kearse and they were my great grandparents, making Lewis and Catherine Revaro Botto my second great grandparents.. On the 1860 census, Lewis appears as a confectioner in Richmond, VA. and is living with his wife and two children.
________________________________
1860 United States Federal Census
Name: Lewis Batto (Botto)
Age: 28
Birth Year: abt 1832
Gender: MaleBirth Place: Italy
Home in 1860: Richmond Ward 1,Virginia, USA
Post Office: Richmond

Family Number 207

Household Members:
Name                    Age
Lewis Batto           28
Catharine Batto     20

James Lewis Batto  4
Mary Catherine       3
________________________________
However, I have not yet been able to discover for sure what happened to Lewis Botto. I do not know if he died in the Civil War, if he and Catharine got divorced, or just why he disappeared, but I do know that in 1866, Catharine married her second husband, Nicholas Raffo, 1837-1873, also born in Italy. Together they had one son, John Francis Raffo, 1867-1951. On the marriage record of Catharine Revaro Botto to Nicholas Raffo, I finally learned that Catharine’s father’s name was Anton Revaro, sometimes seen as Andrew Rivers. At last, I knew the names of my third great grandfathers.
______________________________________

Catharine Botto

Name: Catharine Botto
[Catharine Revaro] 
Gender: Female
Age: 43
Birth Date: 1823
Marriage Date: 7 May 1866
Marriage Place: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Father: Anton Revaro
Spouse: Nicholas Raffo
FHL Film Number: 33620
Reference ID: p 90
Catharine Revaro Botto Raffo had three children altogether, two sons and one daughter. James Lewis Botto married Margaret Slattery and had six children. Catharine’s daughter Mary Catherine Botto married James Kearse and had four children, including a set of twin girls and two boys. Catherine Botto Raffo’s son John Francis Raffo , 1867-1951, married Mary Margaret “Minnie” Finnegan and had eight children! Blessed to have three children, Catharine had 18 grandchildren! Lewis Botto had ten grandchildren. What a legacy!
James Lewis Botto owned and operated a nightclub in Richmond called the St. Helena. Mary Catherine B. Kearse was a business woman like her mother, collecting rents from rental property they owned, and she was also a jeweler, the co-owner of a well known jewelry store in Richmond. John Francis Raffo was a firefighter who became the Chief of the City of Richmond Fire Department with a career that spanned fifty years! Teachers, Police Officers, Firefighters, and a Catholic Priest. the caretakers of Richmond, Virginia, USA were some of my own family! Previously, I had met, through ancestry, some of my living Raffo cousins, in California, Virginia, and right here in North Carolina, only about an hour away!

That was about all I knew until two weeks ago. Even though I had met and become friends with another Botto cousin through our own DNA match- Eric Dimiceli from New York, he only knew that he had a second great grandmother named Catarina Botto, 1837-1913, who was born in San Colombano, Certenoli, GE, Italy also! She had married a Carlo Molinari. We knew they were related, but could not determine how for lack of records.

Then two weeks ago, I got a note on Ancestry from Karen about her husband Tom Migliori and his cousin Raymond Malispina. She and Ray are the genealogists of the family. Raymond had been to Italy at least five times, and had a cousin who did original research there. Ray sent me this lovely note for my records just a few days after we met:

“Good morning cousin
Amen to that!
One piece of new news you might want for the records is the church containing the data on Botto, Cuneo, et. al. is S. Maria Assunta in the town of S. Colombano Certenoli. It is just about a mile or so southeast of the wonderful city of Chiavari, on the sea some 40 miles south of Genoa and just below Portofino (the Cinque Terra is just a short train ride south of Chiavari). We’ve used Chiavari as our base city on five visits to Italy. Ray”

Raymond shared his own genealogical research and family tree with us, which gave us more ancestors! It also let us know that the four of us descended from siblings! Lorenzo (Lawrence) Botto, 1801-1860, married Maria (Mary) Rosa Costa, 1806-1883. I checked my DNA for matches to the surname Costa, and there they were, I matched Eric, Ray and Thomas–Karen’s husband. In fact, Ancestry has now put the four of us in an ancestry DNA circle! Lorenzo and Maria Rosa had six children, and now we know descendants from three of them! Ray sent this information to Eric Dimiceli and me:

“Botto Family Records S. Colombano Certenoli

As promised here is the information found in the records of the church in S. Colombano Certenoli.

Lorenzo Botto (son of Bernardo) was born in the town of Rapallo in 1801 on July 19 1826 he married Maria Rosa Costa (daughter of Luigi) at the church in S. Colombano. Lorenzo died November 14,1860.They had six children:


-Angela Maria born October 16, 1827, She married Bartolomeo Daveggio on February 5 1845 This is my second great grandmother!!!!
-Giacomo Luigi was born July 23, 1831. No record of marriage in S. Colombano.

-Maria Teresa was born October 13. 1834. She married Antonio Raggio May 2, 1859.

-Caterina was born April 17, 1837. She married a Carlo Molinari (no date). She died July 25, 1913.

-Rosa was born October 19, 1841. She died October 9, 1842.

-Bartolomeo born October 9, 1845. Married Angela Cademartori December 31, 1865. Died February 18, 1906.”

How exciting to discover that our second great grandparents were siblings! Eric descends from Catherina Botto;  Ray and Tom descend from her sister Angela Maria Botto; and I descend from their brother Giacomo Luigi! Giacomo Luigi, I was so happy I could hardly stop saying that name. I had only known him as Lewis who married Caterina Revaro, and had a son named James Lewis Botto and daughter Mary Catherine Botto! Giacomo Luigi translates to James Lewis also, the name of his son! Live and learn! It was so much fun! I immediately sent out an email to all of my Kearse/Botto first and second cousins to introduce Ray and Eric, and give them the information! I also learned the names of two of my fourth great grandparents! Lorenzo’s father was Bernardo Botto, and Maria Rosa Costa’s father was Luigi Costa! There it was, Luigi, a family name.

Since Ray, Eric, Tom, and I are fourth cousins, we should share a third great grandparent, and indeed we are all descendants of our third great grandparents, Lorenzo and Maria Rosa Costa Botto! Ray and I share 13.1 centimorgans of DNA across one DNA segment! Eric and I share 12.0 cM’s of DNA over one DNA segment and Tom and I share 22.5 cM’s over 2 DNA segments.  Below are our relationship charts, detailing our kinship.

What a blessing from DNA and genealogical research to find three new cousins from California, to New York to North Carolina, USA–from Italy with love!

Genealogy Quotation-Lawrence-Dillard-friends-best-Meetville-Quotes-152308
Sono cosi felice! (I am so happy!)
Fino a quando ci incontriamo di nuovo, benedizioni  (Until we meet again, blessings)
Helen
Relationship Charts:
Raymond (Ray) Malispina (1935 – )

father of Raymond (Ray) Malispina

Louisa Cuneo (1888 – 1953)

mother of Elvin George Malispina

Jennie Deveggio (1867 – 1932)

mother of Louisa Cuneo
mother of Jennie Deveggio

father of Angela Maria Botto

Giacomo Luigi (James Lewis) Botto (1831 – )

son of Lorenzo (Lawrence) Botto

Mary Catherine Botto (1858 – 1906)

daughter of Giacomo Luigi (James Lewis) Botto

son of Mary Catherine Botto

Margaret Steptoe Kearse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Thomas Philip Kearse
Helen Spear Youngblood Holshouser
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kearse
____________________________________________
Eric Dimiceli
4th cousinPrivate Silvinsky 

mother of Eric Dimiceli

mother of Private Silvinsky

Francesco Molinari 

father of Catherine C Molinari

Caterina Botto (1837 – 1913)

mother of Francesco Molinari

Lorenzo (Lawrence) Botto (1801 – 1860)

father of Caterina Botto
daughter of Giacomo Luigi (James Lewis) Botto

son of Mary Catherine Botto

Margaret Steptoe Kearse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Thomas Philip Kearse
daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kearse Youngblood
_____________________________________________
Thomas Migliori
4th cousinDora Pedrucci (1916 – 2012)
mother of Thomas Migliori

Della Catherine Cuneo (1891 – 1944)
mother of Dora Pedrucci

Jennie Deveggio (1867 – 1932)
mother of Della Catherine Cuneo

Angela Maria Botto (1827 – )
mother of Jennie Deveggio

Lorenzo (Lawrence) Botto (1801 – 1860)
father of Angela Maria Botto

Giacomo Luigi (James Lewis) Botto (1831 – )
son of Lorenzo (Lawrence) Botto

Mary Catherine Botto (1858 – 1906)
daughter of Giacomo Luigi (James Lewis) Botto

Thomas Philip Kearse (1883 – 1939)
son of Mary Catherine Botto

Margaret Steptoe Kearse (1918 – 1980)
daughter of Thomas Philip Kearse

Helen Spear Youngblood Holshouser
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kearse

__________________________________________
This blog post was originally  written for  the blog entitled “Worldwide Genealogy –A Genealogical Collaboration”          http://worldwidegenealogy.blogspot.com/                   `

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Honoring the College and University Level Teachers in Our Family, Past and Present

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Teachers teach all other professions

During the months of September and October, 2015, we’ve been honoring and recognizing the Educators in our Family Tree, past and present. I am presenting quite a few educators in today’s blog post. I am sure that there are many more whom I either have not identified, or did not know. Please feel free to comment and tell me about those I have missed so that I can either include them here with a correction or write an addendum.

It just so happens that I had the blessing in my life to teach children with behavioral and emotional issues in first  through sixth grade right out of college. After being at that level for three years, I moved to the Junior High level where I taught students aged 12-16, they would be classified middle and high schoolers today.  When we first moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in 1980, I had the opportunity to teach Interpersonal Communication at North Carolina State University for 3 years as a “Visiting Lecturer”. Most of you know, with my BA from Greensboro College and my MA in Clinical Psychology from Chapman College,  I went on to become an individual and family therapist for twenty years after that.  My point is to say, having taught at the different levels, and known so many teachers over the years, I can say that teaching is challenging at all levels! The challenges are different for sure, but the ultimate goal  is to educate, and every single level is needed to create success at the next level! We cannot skip any level of development and learning and expect to have a well-educated person! As the saying above aptly states, “Teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions!”  Nothing could be more true! Why then don’t we make the salary of our CEO’s!  I’d vote for that!  It’s past time the importance and value of our teachers be more highly recognized by our States and National Government budget makers!

We have amazing people in our family–I hope you will enjoy “meeting” these people  and knowing just a bit about what they do and where they teach, if you want to be in touch with any of them, let me know and I will ask them to get in touch. I am presenting them in alphabetical order by first name, we are family after all!

Carol E. Winters, 2013Carol E. Winters, PhD, RN, CNE (Doctorate, Registered Nurse, Certified Nursing Educator) my cousin through the Scottish Hogue family, is currently a Professor of Nursing at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.  She is the Director of the MSN Nursing Education Concentration–she teaches Graduate level nurses to be Nursing Educators! Carol served as the Dean of the School of Nursing at Hawaii Pacific University in Hawaii for 16 years before returning home to North Carolina.  Carol has a BA in Christian Education from Greensboro College in Greensboro, NC, then an M.S. in Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She earned her PhD at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.  Not only has she these teaching , leadership accomplishments, but so much more! She is a published author, has been a hands-on nurse of obstetrics, and since 2009, has been a Faculty Advisor for the NFLA, Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy, a national organization sponsored by Sigma Theta Tau, the International Nursing Honor Society jointly with the Elsevier Foundation. There is so much more I could tell you about this dynamic woman who happened to be my college roommate and friend of almost 50 years! We only discovered our cousinship last year through my genealogical research!  She has three children, five grandchildren, and has done vast amounts of volunteer work in her communities, and served and led many committees.

 October 1, 2015,–Carol Emerson Winters was honored as the 2015 Nurse Educator of the Year by the NCNA, the North Carolina Nursing Association! CONGRATULATIONS! AN HONOR WELL DESERVED! congratulations in gold

My Hogue cousin, Dee Horn, has tutored College level     Dee Horn also   English at two  different colleges over the years. I have known many college level tutors. When I was at NC State University I quickly learned how invaluable they were to many students–like those who had learning disabilities, some who were blind, and  even some who were valuable sports team members who needed extra help to keep up with academics during their physically demanding playing and practice seasons. We take our hats off to one on one teachers! 

Donna Miller 3Another Hogue cousin  Donna Miller earned her degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and taught Business Education  at the High School level, in Business Schools, and at Community Colleges.  Life, marriage, and children took her from Pennsylvania to Connecticut and Rhode Island.  In Norwich, Connecticut, for 23 years, she taught at a business school and served as an Academic Dean!  After retirement, she worked  part-time at Three Rivers Community College.  

When I asked Donna about some memories, she  said several things which I wanted to share.  One was a simple teaching technique but fun: “I liked making the students think about what they were doing. Sometimes I would purposely make a spelling or grammatical error on a test and then tell the students that they would get extra points if they found it.” That’s the kind of thing that adds an extra challenge and a bit of fun for students!   She went on to say: “It’s the one profession where students have actually come back and said, ‘Thank you for believing in me,’ or ‘pushing me,’ or ‘making me realize that I can do . . . .’  When you are finished teaching, you know that despite some of the negatives (there were stressors), you feel that you have done something positive with your life.”  Oh yes! I know a lot of the educators we have profiled feel this way, and it is why we admire and love them so!  When a teacher’s philosophies so resonate with you, you know you’d love to have that teacher for yourself, or for your children, and you know with certainty that they are a GREAT teacher! 

My first cousin James Goodell, great-great grandson of Goodell, James McClainJ.Steptoe Langhorne, has taught computer sciences for many years at Menlo College in Atherton, California. He studied at the University of Freiburg located in Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.  He currently serves as President of the Goodell Corporation, a family real estate school and business his father founded.

Youngblood, LarryLarry Youngblood is one of our multi-leveled/multi-talented teachers as well! For years he has home schooled his grandchildren through all the levels of education!  Having studied at Texas A&M University Larry  has taught at Private Catholic Schools, Business Schools and Universities.  For several years now, Larry has been the Administrator of the International Youngblood DNA Project researching the  different family lines of Youngbloods evidenced by their dna.  He is currently writing a book about the Youngblood/Jungblut/Jungbloedt families. Thank you Larry! 

Pat Spangler, PhD, my second cousin, son of Charles Langhorne Spangler and Kittie Cockram Spangler, grandson of  Fanny Langhorne, and Great Grandson Spangler, Pat, PhD 2014of J.Steptoe Langhorne is a geophysicist in a family with three close cousins who are/were geophysicists! What honor he and they bring to our family!  You can read a previous blog post featuring them  at  Buck, Spangler and Houchins, Three Cousins Who are Geophysicists as Well!   Pat Spangler, PhD, is retired from the University of Florida, and thus his title is now Associate Professor Emeritus of Geology. Pat has published extensively and is highly respected in the academic community as well as in his family community.

Rick White, PhD, Donald Richard White, Professor, 3x gr grandson of James Steptoe LanghorneI am thrilled to introduce to many of you, our cousin Dr. Rick White, PhD, Chemist. Rick is the second great-grandchild of James Steptoe and Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro Langhorne, same as James Goodell, Roger Buck IV, PhD and I are. Pat Spangler above is their great-grandson. Rick is a Professor of Chemistry at St. John’s River State College in Jacksonville, Florida after a twenty plus year career in industry. He has also taught at Florida Southern College, and at the University of Tampa. He earned his PhD at the University of Florida and did post doctoral studies at King’s College in London. (At the time of his post doctoral work, the school was called Queen Elizabeth College, but Margaret Thatcher consolidated the colleges in the mid-1980’s and it became King’s) Rick has three sisters by the way, more cousins for us to enjoy. Another extremely accomplished professional, Rick has over 25 peer-reviewed publications, and over 200 internal company reports from his time with industry.

Rick worked for over twenty years for Procter and Gamble. Twelve of those years were spent in their Food and Beverage business before moving to their Health Care business where he worked for another ten years! He was an analytical chemist, supporting all aspects of product development, from inception to launch. Some of the products he worked with included brands you will recognize like Folger’s Coffee, Pringles Potato Chips, Citrus Hill Orange Juice, Pepto-Bismol, Metamucil, Crest Toothpaste, and Vick’s cough and cold remedies! Just think, from now on when you pick up one of those products, you will know that our DNA is part of the brain that helped develop them! We are very proud to be related to you Dr. Rick White!

Voorus House, Dorothy Pearl

Voorus Home in PA

Robert Voorus, 1891-1985, my cousin through the Spangler and Hogue families, had brothers and sisters  who were featured in the earlier educator posts. Robert worked in the Library of Congress as a young man. When he moved back to Pleasantville, Pennsylvania he taught at a Business School in Oil City, Pennsylvania. He is remembered by family as an excellent educator. 

Roger Buck,III was a master’s level Marine Biologist. He spent Buck, Walter Roger Buck, IIImost of his professional life researching for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA, which is now part of William and Mary College for their Oceanography Concentration.  Roger not only researched heavily, but he taught at William and Mary College and earlier at Duke University. With all of his major accomplishments, Roger, my Uncle by marriage to Katherine Langhorne Kerse, was a kind and genteel man who raised a son and a daughter who both earned their  PhD.  His son, W. Roger Buck IV,  became an educator and research scientist as well, while his daughter Tyler Buck is a financial analyst and advisor with her own company.

Roger Buck, IV,PhD, my first cousin through the Kerse, buck, Walter roger Buck IVHouchins, Langhorne families, is a Professor of Geophysics at Columbia University in New York. His speciality is earthquakes and he researches through Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York.  He has traveled the world lecturing and researching as he says, from “collecting rock samples for radiometric dating in Egypt, and in the Mojave Desert, to diving on the Reykjanes Mid-Ocean Ridge in a Russian submersible, and helping with GPS surveys on Iceland.” What amazing adventures this cousin has experienced!

I just want to make a couple observations regarding our families. The Langhornes were a wealthy family from England. But James Steptoe Langhorne became blind, several of his children, grandchildren and more, were blinded by the same inherited disease, his only natural son drowned at age 16, and after the Civil War, he was land poor and devastated!  Wouldn’t he be amazed and gratified that his grandchildren and greats would grow to be such good and educated people, and educators! He and his wife Elizabeth started a school and a Sunday School in Meadows of Dan, Virginia both of which were very important to them. We have carried on that philosophy–because it is imbedded in our DNA?  It is interesting!

The Hogues emigrated from Scotland, the Youngbloods from Germany, while the Voorhees originated in the Netherlands.  They fought in our Revolutionary War and our Civil War and many others. They were honorable people who supported their new country, but most of all, the Voorhees and  Hogues were Presbyterian Ministers and educators. It is amazing to me to see the traditions and/or the DNA at work in such a continuing fashion.

 What accomplishments for all of us to be proud of, and thankful for! Thank you our family members who educate all of us– for your inspiration, your wisdom, and your hard work! We honor all of you as you have honored us!

Teaching quote, wisest-mind-george-quote

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Honoring High School Teachers in Our Family Tree, part 2

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In this the second part of honoring the  high school teachers in our family, I have some more very interesting people to introduce to you!  One is a retired English teacher so that I’d better watch my dangling participles! Continuing in alphabetical order by last name we’ll be saluting a science teacher first.

Holshouser, MarthaMartha Powell Beck Holshouser, wife of my husband Max’s first cousin, John Alton Holshouser, is a retired Science teacher who was married to a farmer. She worked on the farm and helped raise prize-winning  show cattle, as well as reared three wonderful, smart and kind sons– all married, some with children of their own! Besides her busy schedule and teaching responsibilities, Martha has helped organize the Holshouser family reunion for 4o years!

In 1973, Martha graduated from Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, North Carolina. She then taught for 30 years! Fifteen of those years were spent teaching science at Erwin Junior High School, and 15 at East Rowan  High School. Both schools are located in Salisbury, North Carolina.  Martha taught science all of those years! She taught Physical Science, Earth Science, Environmental Science, and Chemistry! I know Martha well, and she is a doer, a go getter. I bet those students who had her for a teacher knew they were blessed to have such a knowledgeable teacher. She is an enthusiastic person  whose positive spirit is catching!  Congratulations on a wonderful career and family and thank you for teaching our leaders of tomorrow how to problem solve! 

 

Sharon Lynn was my friend first, we were neighbors and SAM_1981gardeners together when we discovered our kinship though my genealogical research! We are cousins through my mother’s family, Beard, Reynolds, and Pierce through the Houchins, and the Clements all the way back to Jamestown! Sharon is a retired English teacher married to a retired Woodworking teacher. However, although they are retired from teaching, both of them work full time. Sharon went back to school after retirement and earned her CNA so that she could work with seniors, helping them remain in their homes. Sharon is a force to be reckoned with!  Intelligent, creative, energetic even driven at times, she is dedicated to her clients and works diligently to make them happy and comfortable.  It is easy to see why she still has former students who call her and ask for her advice. She lives here in North Carolina, taught in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and  West Virginia, and has students calling her from California!  She is a strong advocate who goes the extra mile to help students and friends through life, as well as school. Sharon is a talented craftsperson also, making wreaths, cloth flowers, quilts, and costumes among other things. She and her husband facilitated the staging of  plays and events for their church for many years. Over the years, they have kept a sick parent in their home and have helped support and care for their chronically ill adult son . The old adage, “ask a busy person” comes to mind when I think of my dynamic cousin Sharon! 

Teaching English, punctuation matters

 

Nicklin, Stephanie Williamson editedMy younger cousin Stephanie Williamson Nicklin is the next teacher I want to honor. Stephanie is my first cousin once removed through the Kearse, Houchins, Langhorne family lines. Her Mom Claudia was my first cousin with her mother and my mother being Kearse sisters. Stephanie comes from a family of educators with her father a teacher and principal, and her sister plus many cousins and Aunts and Uncles being teachers. Stephanie lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia which is where she teaches Biology in the High Schools. She is assigned to different schools as a part-time instructor. Just think of all the more students whose lives she touches that way! She has two teenagers at home, and a husband who is a leader and instructor on the SWAT team of the police force.  

Young female teacher teaching human anatomy at biology class

–source, depositphotos.com

I know Stephanie well, and I take my hat off to her every day! She is a friendly, strong, smart, and kind individual whose enthusiasm and energetic approach to life never seem to wane!  The students of Virginia Beach are so lucky to have her influence in their lives, although they may not realize that until later in life. I stand in awe of her ability to organize so well and cope with the dangers of her husband’s career while coping with teens and her own career. Way to go Stephanie, you rock! The sign below is one she loves, and that tells us just about all we need to know about the positive person she is–one who builds people up, doesn’t tear them down!

Self worth

 

Spangler, Betty Smith croppedBetty Spangler Smith is the first of two Spanger/Langhorne family member cousins I want to acknowledge.  Betty is a retired Latin and Spanish teacher in High School who taught full time 33 years, and has been substituting for the last seven!  She taught Latin levels 1-5, and AP Latin as well as Spanish levels 1 and 2.  She also taught an Introduction to Foreign Languages class. What a rigorous career!  What a great opportunity to expand the minds, abilities, even the worlds of so many students! Research shows that learning a foreign language is good for our brains–creating new learning pathways. We also know it allows us to communicate with many other cultures at home and around the world. Thank you Betty for giving our children this opportunity–for training our leaders of tomorrow!

Spanish, factspy.net

Betty is also an excellent genealogical researcher. I had the opportunity to hear her speak at a family reunion last year and loved it! She told of the history of the family, and anecdotal stories for all of us to enjoy. It was so great to see this dedicated teacher in action!

Betty is also  the supervisor of the Credit Union at her old high school, a job she really loves! She explains, “We are the only high school in our district that has a credit union! I work with 4 students who get community service time for helping me, and they get banking experience, so it’s a win-win situation for all! The kids I have are juniors or seniors and since we have some days of no customers, it really gives me a chance to get to know the 4 who work with me.”  You know she is a genuine, caring teacher when you hear her say, as I did the other day, that it almost makes her cry to think of not interacting with students everyday when she truly retires again- possibly next year! Your influence will go on forever dear Betty. 

My own mother required me to take Latin in High School. She impressed upon me the importance and helpfulness of learning this classical language in developing my vocabulary and knowledge of words. I have Mom and my Latin teachers  to thank that I now know these Latin phrases and enjoy using them!

Latin phrases, latinsuitcase.com

 

One thing anyone who knows our family, from one end to another, has to admit is that we have incredibly talented, intelligent, and dedicated  people in our group. The fact that many have chosen education for their careers, only speaks more highly of our values. Epitomizing those character traits is Spangler, Harriet Ann Caldwell, Otto wifeHarriet Ann Caldwell Spangler who retired after 35 years of teaching all levels of High School Mathematics! She taught 7 years in Kentucky, and 28 years in Florida!  Harriet actually taught Physics as well, but her favorite was always geometry with algebra running a close second!  Harriet’s leadership skills were well recognized as she served as the Math Department Chairperson for many years at Newberry High School in Alachua County just west of Gainesville, Florida.  What a career! When I look back at my own High School career, geometry was one of my favorite subjects as well, and I loved my math teachers all the way through school. I have no doubt that Harriet Spangler inspired many, many students to make the most of their lives. Teachers are our first line counselors, guidance counselors, and instructors–when are we going to let them know how strongly we value them!

Spangler, Harriet and Otto, chuck's parentsWhen I asked Harriet about how she and Otto met, she told me such a sweet and touching story, that I thought I’d share her words with you! 

“Otto and I were high school sweethearts.  We met on the tennis courts near my home when I was 13 and he was 14.  He was there playing with a friend and I too was there with my girl friend.  It started pouring down rain, and his friend offered my friend a ride home, and Otto offered to take me home on his motor bike.  He sat up on the tank and I sat behind him.  By the time we got home, his shirt was soaked, so I invited him in and mother dried his shirt by hanging it in front of the oven.  We listened to 45 RPM records, and talked while it dried.  Otto tells that when he went home to eat lunch, he told his parents that he met the girl today that he wanted to marry.  It took a few more years to convince me.  We were married when I was 19 and he was 20, and had been married for 57 years when he passed away.  Fifty-seven wonderful years.” 

Harriet and Otto attended Carson-Newman University near Knoxville, Tennessee.  Since her husband was a year ahead of her, Harriet decided to quit college–NOT!  She decided she needed to finish college in three years so that she could go with him when he attended seminary in Louisville, Ky! She went to summer school and carried some heavy loads of classwork–they both graduated in 1958! Harriet graduated with honors!  That same drive and determination carried her though life in raising her family, teaching her classes, and in helping Otto with his ministry to their community. What a wonderful woman and a wonderful teacher—whose life sets an example for us all! 

Together she and Otto raised three children, Chuck (Otto Jr.), Elizabeth, and Victor,  who have become the kindest, most considerate adults who could ever make a parent proud! Otto was the Baptist Campus Minister at the University of Florida. When he died recently, there was an outpouring of love for him and for Harriet that was awe inspiring and let us know just how much this couple has touched their whole community. Harriet continues to lead her family through their grief, and to keep the faith she and her husband believed in so strongly! Harriet shared this video with us recently via facebook, and I thought it a blessing to share with all of you as she has blessed so many. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of  our high school teachers! It is surely not enough, but please know it is worth more than diamonds to our youth and our society!  We are thankful to God for your gifts and your talents and for placing you with us and in our world!  As we honor more educators, we will turn the spotlight on our Principals and on our Professors and Instructors in our colleges and universities.   How exciting! 

Teachers, Golden apple award from Center for reseach in learning and teaching, crlt.umich.edu

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Honoring the Middle School Teachers in Our Family!

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Teacher saying excellent

Highlighting the eighteen Special Education and Elementary Educators in our family in the last post was so much fun! I  got to know more about some cousins than I had ever known before!  I hope to continue that joy by focusing on more family members who have chosen to serve our society by teaching in Middle School, High School, as Principals and in our Colleges and Universities! We are blessed by these individuals who not only enrich our family, but make our society a better place! Thank you so very much!

Middle School usually covers sixth through eighth grades in the United States. When I was a young teacher, it was called Junior High and usually included 7th, 8th, and sometime 9th graders. My husband Max and I both taught in Junior High Schools for brief periods of our career. We are included in other categories however, as is my cousin Kay Youngblood Fuller who did teach in Middle School, but became a Principal and will be included there. I personally think Middle School aged students are the toughest to teach! They are just moving out of that childhood stage where they are generally fairly easy to motivate to behave and to learn.  By the time most teens reach  15 or 16, they seem to mature a bit, begin to think about college, and are sometimes more goal oriented. (I know I am talking in general!) Middle schoolers are wonderful and unique, in that they have one  foot planted squarely in childhood and the other rebelliously in teenagehood! They love to discuss the big world issues, and can be very wise, but bring out the crayons and legos…and they are instantly transported to those “live for the moment” children! It can be a delightful, trying age, and a challenging teaching assignment!

Williamson, Rebecca Jayne Stodola croppedOne of my 1st cousins once removed on my Mother’s side (Kearse, Houchins, Langhorne) is Rebecca Jayne Williamson Stodola. Becky teaches in middle school now and has an illustrious record of her work!  Becky’s father was a high school teacher and principal, and her sister Stephanie teaches also and will be profiled later !  Their Mom was a nurse, but Claudia served as a substitute teacher as well.  What a blessing they have been to our family and to our society.!

Becky Stodola earned her Masters in Education at Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia, after earning her undergraduate degree at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. She started her career teaching Pre-Kindergarten at Church of the Savior Day School in Roswell, Georgia for three years. Then she spent four years teaching Reading and Creative Writing at the Marietta Sixth Grade Academy for the Marietta City Schools. This vibrant young woman continued her career with ten years of teaching English, Language Arts–Literature, Composition and Reading for  all grade levels at Woodstock Middle School and Mill Creek  Middle School for the Cherokee county School District.  During this time she was also a wife and mother of her lovely daughter Miranda. Along the way Becky  received the Kiwanis GEM –Goes the Extra Mile–award in 2004! It didn’t surprise me then when I heard that she was one of the teachers who voluntarily stayed with many children overnight when they could not get home due to a severe ice storm! Wow!

Becky  also received the  Cherokee County Educational Foundation IMPACT Grant this year! Her superb work was recognized when she was chosen  New Teacher of the Year for MSGA, in 2002-03, and again  for MCMS for  2015-16! We are so proud of you Becky, your immediate and your extended family.  Thank you for your service just doesn’t seem like enough!

Noelle Roberts Kitchen is a cousin through my Kitchen, Noelle RobertsSpangler/Langhorne line. She teaches 7th grade Language Arts at Cramerton Middle school in Cramerton, North Carolina about forty miles west of Charlotte. Noelle is starting her ninth year teaching this year! At only 32 years of age, that seems remarkable to me! Noelle is married and has two daughters who keep her busy outside of school!  Noelle says she knew she wanted to be a teacher when she was still in high school.  She ran track and was very athletic, soon beginning to stay and help coach the other athletes. She loved helping them reach their goals, and went to college thinking she’d become a physical education teacher.  She graduated from Western Carolina University. Then– epitomizing the whole purpose of these blog posts on the importance of teachers–she took an English Class in college from a Professor Gastle, loved the writing and reading, and decided with his influence that she would become an English teacher!  Don’t we wish we could count all the teachers who have made these kinds of life altering influences on their students. Good Teachers ROCK!

Noelle is thankful to all of the teachers who influenced her greatly along the way, and she now states unequivocally, “I hope to always help children find their way the way I was helped.”  She credits many of her teachers, but goes on to relate that Mr. Gastle, was the speaker at her English Honor Society induction. When she started her student teaching,  she was nervous, and went to him with many questions, one of which was, “What should I do if a student asks me a question for which I do not know the answer?’  He readily told her that might indeed happen, and his suggestion was to  use it as a learning opportunity, and find the answer together. He told her that generally, the student will remember that experience more than  thinking gleefully that he “stumped” the teacher.  Thank you God for wise teachers!  

Noelle readily credits her family influences also for gifts that make her a good teacher. Gaining the love of independence from her mother and leadership skills from her Dad has served her very well. She has identified her organizational skills as being nurtured especially by one grandparent, while crediting another for her love of coaching and one more for teaching her patience!. She loves teaching  as part of a team, and states that her team teacher says  that “she is the fire starter, and I am the peacemaker.” How wonderful to recognize the importance of both, in fact all of these skills,  and how lucky for their students!

Developing this thankful heart for the good influences in her life, and the love she has received spills over into more of her philosophy of teaching.  Noelle says, “I teach students not only to help them learn academics, but to help them learn to be a good person as well. I don’t believe kids can reach their potential when they haven’t had their basic needs met. One of those needs is being loved. Every student I teach hears the words, “I love you” on a regular basis, and it is the truth. I love the kids I teach. If they don’t remember a thing I’ve said all year, they will remember that “my teacher cared about me and wanted the best for me.” In closing, Noelle shares this story with me which I think you will enjoy hearing also, as it is what we all want for our students and for ourselves!  

“Last year I had a student who was really struggling. He was in therapy for all the trauma he experienced at home, and acted out in school often. When he wasn’t acting out, he tried to sleep in class. From the start I knew my hands were going to be full with him. I showed him time and time again throughout the year that I was there for him, I was on his side and he could count on me. He is a student who needed very much to hear the special words, ‘I love you,’ and ‘I want what’s best for you.’ At the end of the year another student started to yell at me in class! Before I could even speak, the child I had been worrying about all year hopped up out of his desk and told the boy, “You can’t speak to her like that!” He said “you better respect her (Noelle, the teacher) because she respects all of us!” I intervened before things got heated, but I knew at that moment I had made it clear to that student that he mattered. He was important to me and in turn I was important to him. This year this same child has brought his problems to confide in me. Sometimes a good teacher is all a kid has in this world. That is what I aim to be every day.“

teacher quotes from the heart

Our family is so blessed by the inclusion of teachers like Becky Williamson Stodola and Noelle Kitchen Roberts!  They represent us so very well, make us all proud, and personify what is best about all teachers!  Thanks you two, for being such GREAT teachers!

 

There are several other middle school teachers in our family, but they also taught or lead at other levels and will be recognized there. The next installment will honor our high school teachers. I would love to hear your reaction to these stories, and your meeting or being refreshed on the lives of these two great teachers, or the ones from my last post.  What a joy to have these folks in our family!

 

 

 

 

 

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How the American Civil War Affected This Southern Woman and Many of Us–150 Years Later!

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–This blog post was originally written for and published on the blog “Worldwide Genealogy~A Genealogical Collaboration,” which you can access at: http://worldwidegenealogy.blogspot.com/2015/03/how-american-civil-war-affected-this.html

 

–from ancestry.com depicting Rebel vs. Yankee in Civil War

At my current age of sixty-six years, it was mostly my 2nd Great Grandfathers, eight in number, who fought in the Civil War. That whole generation was affected–those born in the 1830’s and 1840’s and dying in the war or after 1880. I remember how surprised I was to look at my family tree and realize that. I had put a little picture beside all the folks who fought in the war, and when I looked at my pedigree, there they were, all lined up–my 2nd Great Grandfathers!  One young 1st Great Grandfather lied about his age and entered the war early, and a couple of elderly 3rd Great Grandparents served as well, but mostly this was a tragedy for my 2nd Great Grandparents, who, thank heavens, had children before the war, or after, so that here I am, a product of all eight of them.

“The Civil War” as we call it in America, was fought between April, 1861 and April 1865. Many issues entered into the conflict, but the overriding matter of the day was slavery, especially the expansion of slavery into the western areas of the growing United States. Altogether, eleven  Southern States of the United States seceded, decided they no longer wanted to be a part of the United States of America, but wanted to join together as the Confederate States of America, often called the Confederacy, the South, or the Rebels. The United States forces were called the Union, the Yankees, or the North! After four years of battles, burning, and destruction, Wikipedia reports http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_War that there were an “estimated 750,000 soldiers and an undetermined number of civilian casualties. One estimate of the death toll is that ten percent of all Northern males 20–45 years old, and 30 percent of all Southern white males aged 18–40 died.” We genealogical researchers in America have all probably noticed the many, many widows and fatherless families on the 1870 and 1880 censuses due to this terrible war. 

The Confederacy lost, the slaves were freed, and the South had to slowly rebuild and learn a new way of life.  After the war, almost everyone in the South was poor, their confederate money was no good.  Even the plantation owners were “land poor,” unable to afford to hire their former slaves or other workers to work their large fields!

This is the world in which I find my 2nd Great Grandparents living. For some reason, this was a shock to me. Until I started my genealogical research in 2012, I cared little for history, I am sorry to admit.  A person with a Master’s Degree, I did poorly in history classes, as they only meant dates and event names to memorize to me. Why didn’t someone ever explain to me that my family was there? It wasn’t just the movie “Gone With The Wind” that I should have modeled my scant knowledge of the Civil War upon–of all historical events. Did my parents really not know that their 1st Great Grandparents fought in the war, or was it that they were so busy surviving the depression and World War II, that history paled in comparison. Now that I am more aware, I am trying to correct that situation by writing stories of our ancestors and how they participated in and were affected by historical events. Now I know, that their participation in those events, affected me and my family’s choices in life, experiences in life…let me give you some examples:

Robert_E._Lee, public domain Wikicommons (1)

Robert E. Lee, public domain, Wikicommons

Growing up in Richmond, Virginia, the former Capital of the Confederacy, with statues of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and JEB Stuart adorning our major thoroughfare, Monument Avenue, one could not help but feel a sense of pride in being “Southern.” Stories were everywhere, and the pride of being Southern lay not in the reality of the war, but in little girls’ visions of verandas and sweet tea, white gloves and hoop skirts! It had nothing to do with slavery, especially since even in 1960, when I was eleven years old, blacks were pretty much completely segregated from whites.  As a white child, I didn’t know it should be different, I am sorry to say. By the time I was six, I knew the “Rebel Yell,” which we used to summon our playmates when we went outdoors to play. The South was highly glorified of course. As I grew up, I learned that there was so much more to the story, of course.  My genealogical research helped me truly understand.

One of my four maternal 2nd Great Grandfathers  was Robert Kerse, an Irish emigrant arriving in America in  1850 at age 18.  He married and had three of his ten children by 1861, then fought in the Civil War as a Confederate, protecting his own city of Richmond, Virginia.  His one and only horse was shot out from under him! Right on Fold 3, a genealogical site for military research, I can find his muster roll sheets, and letters from his superiors attesting to the fact that his horse was shot out from under him in battle, and that his claim against the US government after the war, to get a new horse, should be honored.  Oh my gracious!

Robert Kerse– in the U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865
Name:
Robert Kerse
Rank at enlistment:
Private
State Served:
Virginia
Service Record:
Enlisted in Company B, Virginia 2nd Infantry Regiment.
Sources:
Index to Compiled Confederate Military Service Records

Another maternal 2nd great grandfather, James Steptoe Langhorne, called Steptoe, was blind, but owned a huge, 13,000 acre plantation in Patrick County, Virginia. His family stretches back to Jamestown. He did not fight in the war obviously, but he did have the experience of having the Yankee forces steal his horse! The story, involving Steptoe and his daughter Fannie  was originally told to me by my cousins. (cousins found through genealogical research) brothers, and Fannie’s grandsons: Harvey Langhorne Spangler and Dr. Daniel Patrick Spangler, PhD)     

“At the time Miss Fannie Langhorne was ten, and the Civil War was being fought, Stoneman brought his Yankee army from Tennessee down what is now the J.E.B. Stuart highway. In passing they annexed one of Mr. Langhorne’s horses which happened to be his favorite. He, though blind, accompanied by his small daughter Fanny, insisted on following the army to Stuart in search of his horse. There the captain agreed to allow him to retrieve his horse if he could recognize him. Mr. Langhorne set Fanny to hunt the animal. After walking down the long line of horses hitched to the racks along the road and back again, she was unable to find him. On her return, however at one side, away from the rest, she saw her father’s mount and immediately squealed in delight. Mr. Langhorne was led over to a tall roan mare, not his, but near the one Fanny had discovered, and told to see if that were his. Fanny squealed to the contrary, but Mr. Langhorne turned to her and said, “You don’t understand the joke”. Then his hand was placed on another, his own; this time he said, “This is my horse, but not my bridle”.   (If you’d like, you can find this story here: http://www.mtnlaurel.com/mountain-memories/406-fannie-langhorne-spangler-an-interview-from-1935.html) That took courage and audacity, on his and young Fannie’s part!   

My third maternal 2nd great grandfather, William W. Stoops also served in the Civil War. He served in Company G, 21st Regiment, Virginia Cavalry.  It was made up of older men who could not do the long marches so it was a cavalry that stayed close to home to protect railroads, bridges, and mines.

My fourth maternal 2nd Great Grandfather was an Italian Immigrant, Louis Botto. It looks like he arrived in America perhaps about 1844, and he and his wife, my grandmother, Catherine Revaro Botto, had their first child in Richmond, Virginia, in 1857. I believe he had a brother named Frank Botto, and we can clearly see Frank registered to fight in the Civil War. Unfortunately, although I can find Louis Botto in the 1860 census, I’ve yet to find him anywhere else, except that his wife is listed in the phone book as the widow of Louis Botto and by 1866, she has remarried.  I wonder if Louis was killed in the war? Did he get sick and die? Did he leave the family, as I find Louis Bottos in several other areas of the country? I still have a ways to go in my research to prove this.

While part of my mother’s family traces back to Jamestown, the founding colony of America, as you can see, my family is a melting pot of nationalities. So as I grew up “basking in the glory” of being a “Southern Belle” (not really, not from age 12 on), what about my paternal side?  I did realize, as I grew older,  that my father’s side of the family were Yankees.  Not only that, when I started doing my genealogical research, I discovered that my father’s  Grandfather, my first great grandfather, Lewis Jacob Youngblood, 1846-1919, fought in the Battle of Petersburg,Virginia, as part of a New Jersey Cavalry Regiment!  After the war, he came back and lived in Petersburg where he had fought, because supposedly he “thought it was such a beautiful area.”  This past year, one of my cousins’ found Lewis’s discharge papers from the Civil War!  I got to see them as well as his sword, and his gun, all owned now by different cousins!  Kay Youngblood Fuller, my cousin, owns not only his discharge papers, but found his own journal which explains that he was an IRS tax collector for the Federal Government, and that he readily foreclosed on farms, and often bought them himself–farms in the Petersburg area– when recovering Confederates were unable to pay! What a way to get revenge on your enemies! He was a carpetbagger! My own Great Grandfather was a carpetbagger! “In United States history, a carpetbagger was a Northerner (Yankee) who moved to the South after the American Civil War, especially during the Reconstruction era (1865–1877), in order to profit from the instability and power vacuum that existed at this time.”   –http://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/carpetbaggers-and-scalawags–also the source for this illustration below:

carpetbagger-AB

One cousin told me that when Lewis moved to Petersburg, he joined the local Methodist Church, Gary’s Methodist Church.  They say he was so hated, that when he came into the church and sat down, the whole congregation stood up and moved to the other side of the church! My poor grandfather and his siblings had to grow up this way! How would Lewis Jacob  feel to think that 100 years later, he had a great granddaughter who prided herself in her Southern heritage!

Youngblood, Lewis Jacob, discharge papers from Civil War

-for pictures of Lewis Jacob Youngblood’s rifle and sword from the Civil War, see my blog post at https://heart2heartstories.com/2014/11/05/lewis-jacob-youngblood-1846-1919-52-ancestors-in-52-weeks-44/

 

Hugh Jackson Hogue, 1825-1870, Pennsylvania is my 2nd great grandfather on my father’s side, and is of Scottish descent. He, along with his son, my great grandfather, Robert Fulton Hogue, 1850-1924, also fought at the Battle of Petersburg, and Robert came back to settle there as well! Robert was underage, only 15,  when he joined his Dad in Petersburg, and served as a bugle boy, a water boy, and took care of the horses. In later  years,  Robert’s daughter, Helen Blanche Hogue married Edwin Spear Youngblood, son of Lewis Jacob Youngblood, both children of Yankees who relocated to Petersburg, Virginia, both families members of Gary’s Methodist Church.  Had the fathers met in the war, or did they meet in church when being shunned by others?  What would it have been like to grow up in a small southern town, a yankee revenue agent for a father, just after the Civil War? How is it that Edwin  and Helen’s son married a Southern girl from Richmond, Virginia? Of course, she was only partially a  “Southern girl”–she, my mother, was Irish and Italian also, and proud of those heritages.

My other two paternal great grandfathers did not participate in the Civil War, one, Edwin Speer whose ancestors hailed from the Netherlands and Germany,  was too old, with the next generation too young. The other was a German emigrant, Gustavus Voelkler who only arrived in America about the time the Civil War was ending. Lucky them.

Again, the melting pot is evident. Dad’s family includes Scots, Germans, and Netherlanders mostly. Mom’s English, Irish, and Italian mostly. It always amazes me! The Kerse’s of Ireland, were originally the DesCearsais family of France!

One hundred fifty years from now, 2015, will be the year 2165. It’s possible I will have a 2nd or 3rd great grandchild who is my age by then. What will I have done that they might discover that will affect the way they think of me, or the way they think period, the way they regard history? Wow, that’s a humbling thought, yet now I know that my ancestors affected history, they fought, they struggled, they were there. They have affected me by sharing their beliefs, their courage and strong wills, their desire to make a difference–traits I feel in myself today!  

Would I have been a Confederate or Yankee if I were alive during the Civil War?  If I were a child, of course, I’d have done whatever my family did, and possibly been a southern Confederate. However, after all these years of being proud of my Southern heritage, I could never support slavery…so I suspect I would have been a Union sympathizer if not an outright flag waving Yankee! I see this same type of civil strife continuing everyday of my life. Our country in 2015 is about as polarized between the Democrats and Republicans as it was in 1861! Some even think we’re moving again towards a Civil War! While I feel very strongly about my political views, would I pick up a gun and shoot someone over it? I can’t imagine!  I might get angry at a neighbor or family member who believes so very differently from me– that doesn’t mean I don’t respect their right to have those views, just not to force them on me. Having strong beliefs can lead to conflicts, broken families, even wars, I see it in my own family, and in our world.

What might your descendents think of you, of your lifetime? –our lifetime? It’s a lot to consider, but our genealogical research leads us to these questions.

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Marie Botto Kerse Maher- the Magnificent Musician–52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #39

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Ali and Annie Colage of Marie B. Kerse Maher's studio and Ali and Annie for boog post

First photo is from the Richmond Times Dispatch showing Marie Kerse’s music studio in the year 1909, second shows sisters left to right, Ali Holshouser Orcutt and Annie Holshouser in 2014, talented musicians themselves who might have inherited their talents from their great-great Aunt Marie! Ali and Annie play piano, percussion, violin, saxophone, bells, and they both sing beautifully.

Marie Botto Kerse Maher was a twin and my great-aunt. I wrote about her twin sister Kate who died at age 17 week before last and you can find that story at this link to the post titled Kate Kerse, Twin and Young Artist Dies at 17 –52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #37. What a duo they must have been growing up! Think of all the passion and joy such talented artists would bring to the family. They must have been recognized in their church and community as well, as the stained glass window depicting sisters was dedicated at their church when Kate died. Apparently Marie played the organ there at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church on a regular basis. Now, a hundred years later, I  am thinking about them and trying to preserve their stories for our family.

Marie, 1878-1961, was the daughter of James Kerse, a Sergeant on the Richmond City Police force and his wife Mary Catherine Botto. I have written of these families before and you can find links to them and others about the family below. This post is about Marie, one of four children, whose baby brother Andrew Leo Kerse died  at age one when she was 9, and whose twin sister died when they were 17. She was no stranger to death when her mother died and Marie was only 28 years old. She married Joseph Franklin Maher in 1913, when she was 35, had one child, Joseph Jr. at 36.  Both of her parents were gone by her age 43. That is a lot of loss in a lifetime. I wonder if her music sustained her, or just kept her so busy, that she didn’t have time to think! 

I know her music kept her busy, because I have found a treasure trove of information about her on genealogybank.com from the Richmond Times Dispatch newspaper in Richmond, Virginia. The picture of her studio in 1909 shown above was one of the treasures found there!  I never met this great Aunt of mine and it was so much fun to get a glimpse inside her home and studio! 

Marie Kerse Maher ad for music lessons

I found an interesting pattern when searching for articles about Aunt Marie. From 1903, when she was 25, until her death in 1961, she operated a music studio out of her home!. Granted, she had a nice home in downtown Richmond, but it is reported that she had over 100 students some years! Every Fall you could find an article about her school starting and the need to register. Every June, you can find an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch about her recitals! She awarded medals and recognized her students liberally. Many were recognized for their talents in the newspaper. As I perused the articles, I was interested to see  pupils from some families I recognized. In 1903, she was teaching two of her own Botto nieces, Kate and Marguerite. There is also a Josie Clements in this article. One of my  genealogy researching cousins is Elizabeth Clements Mims, I suspect this student was in her family. Another family connection is the Bickerstaffs, and there in the review for 1912, you find students named James and Anne Bickerstaff! There are Spindle and Hancock students as well, all names I recognize. How much fun is that! There are other names I took note of. One name that was very interesting to see, was in 1905, Joseph Maher was Marie Kerse’s student–ten years later he became her husband! Took him long enough!

The recitals were obviously elaborate.They were held at venues like the Thomas Jefferson Hotel in downtown Richmond, and other Halls around town.  There were all kinds of performances as you can read in the articles below, it was amazing. My sister Anne remembers attending one of the recitals when she was a young child of six, shortly before I was born. She remembers that it was held at the luxurious Women’s Club in Richmond, and that our Aunt Gwendolyn Youngblood Tucker took her to the recital, my father’s sister! (the other side of the family, seems curious?). She also remembers something I find amazing, that our mother made her a coat and bonnet out of a wine red velvet! Anne still remembers Mother talking about what an important event the concert was. Anne was the first of four children born to our Mom who worked full-time–I don’t remember her ever sewing! Anne remembers Aunt Marie fairly well, and says Marie was always good and kind to her. I found this picture of a coat and hat very similar to that which Mom made for Anne in 1947. 

velvet coat, marron

I never met our Great Aunt Marie, and was surprised when my research showed that I was 12 years old when she died! She was well known in my home town, why had I never met her? In fact, my sister and I both took piano lessons, but not from her. My older brother and sister sang beautifully! Musical talent apparently runs in the family. It didn’t take much asking around until I began to hear that of course, once again there had been a split in the family! I am genuinely surprised, because I had always thought it was only my father’s family that did that, not my Mom’s. It seems they were just quieter about their estrangements! I learned there were several “incidents” that played into the split relations. I found one in the newspaper archives!In 1915, Marie apparently sued her brother Thomas P. Kerse, my grandfather (my mother’s father) and the courts made him sell some land I assume they had inherited from their mother Mary Catherine Botto who died in 1906. She had inherited the property from her mother, Marie and Thomas’ Grandmother, Catherine Botto Raffo who died shortly before her in 1903– she was a business woman who owned several properties around Richmond. Earlier I had learned that Mary Catherine’s brothers, Marie and Thomas’ Uncles, had sued each other over the property they had inherited,  forcing the sale of  five prime properties in Richmond.      

Kerse lawsuit bet. Marie and Thomas

Apparently there was another reason for the falling out, so much so that Thomas forbid his children to have anything to do with their Aunt Marie or their cousin, her son Joe, how very sad! Or maybe Marie is the one who did the forbidding, I really don’t know, all I know is that we didn’t know each other. Anne says she does not remember seeing Aunt Marie after she was about 7 years old. The other story that I have been told by several family members, is that when James H. Kerse, my great-grandfather,  father of Marie and Thomas, died in October, 1921, even though Thomas, his wife Kate and their six  little children  had taken care of him for many years, Marie inherited the house.  James probably thought Thomas and Kate would be fine on their own and thought he should take care of his daughter. According to the story, Marie  demanded that they move out  even though they were living there one year after James’s death when their own 8 year-old son Thomas Jr. drowned in October, 1922.  Kate was pregnant with their seventh  child by January 1923, when Marie made them move. So much stress, it had to have compounded the emotions.

Regardless of the cause of the split in the family, Marie was obviously a very talented musician. Perhaps she was temperamental and high-strung like many artists are. She was also a very busy business woman when few women were professionals! She was an entrepreneur who ran a music studio out of her home, and had over 100 students enrolled year after year! I find it very interesting that we come from a long line of professional women. In this line especially, Catherine Botto Raffo, born 1825 in Italy,was a professional businesswoman, owning property and collecting rents. Her daughter Mary Catherine Botto Kerse, b. 1858, took over for her. Mary Catherine’s daughter Marie,b.1878,  is the talented musician and business owner herself! Kate, b. 1883, Mary Catherine’s daughter-in-law, Thomas’s wife, was a professional nurse, and before 1915 had a business where she and her partner sold jewelry and did watch repairs. All six of her daughters were educated and worked as realtors, teachers, and social workers! Our generation of women has continued this professional  identity as teachers, financial advisors, psychologists, nurses, etc. We have been told women didn’t work until after WWII and the 1950’s. Well, in our family, we come from a long line of women intrinsically motivated towards professions which makes me proud. 

Besides having her elaborate recitals covered in the newspaper,  Marie placed regular  memorials to some of her loved ones in the newspaper on the anniversary of their deaths. She wrote them poems as you can see in my post about her grandmother, Catherine Revaro Botto Raffo. She posted for her mother as well. But one amazing thing I found, was a memorial she published for her twin sister. It was amazing because the name we had from the records at St. Patrick’s Church were different from the name published in the newspaper, given by Maire.  The church said her sister Kate was named Kathleen Kerse. the memorial left by Marie for her sister, named her as Katherine Vernoica Kerse! I wonder if the middle name was a typo on the part of the newspaper. But my sister nor myself ever heard the name Veronica or even Victoria being in our Kerse  family, much less Vernoica!  Katherine however, is a popular name in our family, every generation has one or more, and I’ve never known anything but good things about any and all of our Katherines, Kathryns, Catherines, Kates and Katys! I’m going to have to do some more research for Kate.

Marie Kerse remembers twin sister

 

I am including articles from the Richmond Times Dispatch archives from Genealogybank.com, although I know they are hard to read.  I believe some family and friends will be interested enough to be thrilled to find these clippings here. They are much easier to read on genealogybank by the way, the problem is in my photography of the articles! Thank you for joining me in my family reminiscing, please share yours with me. 

 

 

 

Former blog posts about the Kerse and allied families:

1. Kate Kerse, Twin and Young Artist Dies at 17 –52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #37

2. Catharina Revaro Botto Raffo–My Italian 2nd Great-Grandmother–52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #36 

 3. Kerse (Kearse, Kierce, Kearsey) James H. — Irish Cop, Yachtsman, Animal Lover– 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge

 4. Thomas Philip Kerse– Irish Cop like his Dad–52 ancestors in 52 weeks!

5.    Thomas Philip Kerse Captains the Lady Jane! 52 ancestors in 52 weeks

6.    Five Generations of Women, Daughters, Mothers, and Grandmothers   (About Katherine Steptoe Kerse, Thoma’s wife)

7.   Eight-Year-Old Drowns! 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks #4

8.   Margaret Steptoe Kerse Youngblood, My Mother, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #33

9.    Janey Bell Kerse Sommers, 1923-2002, Brillance and Joyfulness Dimmed by Altzheimers-52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #23

 

 

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Kate Kerse, Twin and Young Artist Dies at 17 –52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #37

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Stained glass window dedicated to Katie Kerse

 

This beautiful stained glass window was dedicated to Katie Kerse, twin of Marie Kerse, pronounced Kearse, who died at age 17, in 1895. She died of a burst appendix.  Kate  was a very talented artist, and her sister Marie was a talented musician, a pianist.  It is not a coincidence that the stained glass window dedicated to Katie  at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia, depicts sisters Martha and Mary.  This window is not only appropriate because it honors the twin sisters Kate and Marie, but also because  Martha and Mary begged Jesus to raise their brother Lazarus from the dead. Kate and Marie had a little brother, Andrew Leo , who died at 13 months old, in 1887. The twins would have been 9 when that happened, a very impressionable age for young girls to lose their baby brother! As good little Catholic girls, don’t you think they spent time asking Jesus to bring their little brother back to life ? I suspect they did.

Even though Kate was my Great Aunt, because she died so young, the  family living now knows little about her. We know she was an artist, a painter, whose work was admired by family and friends. Unfortunately, no one in the family has a piece of her work today. However, this stained glass window hangs in St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, reminding us that a lot of people loved her.  Her sister Marie played piano beautifully, and played the organ for her church for many years, another good reason to know that the window honors both sisters.  I will write more about Marie  in a separate post.

Unfortunately, there is confusion surrounding the correct date of birth for the twins.  The 1880 census found on ancestry.com, shows the twins at one month old, living with their mother and father, Mary Catherine Botto Kerse,and James H. Kerse in the home of their grandparents–James’s parents, Robert E. and Margaret Kerse.

Name: Kate Kerse
Age: 1m
Birth Year: abt 1880
Birthplace: Virginia
Home in 1880: Richmond, Henrico, Virginia
Race: White
[daughter of James Kerse and Mary Botto Kerse, granddaughter of Robert and Margaret Kerse
Gender: Female
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
Marital Status: Single
Father’s Name: Robert Kerse
Father’s Birthplace: Italy
[Richmond, Virginia, USA
Mother’s name: Margaret Kerse
Mother’s Birthplace: Italy
Neighbors: View others on page
Cannot read/write:Blind:Deaf and Dumb:Otherwise disabled:Idiotic or insane:
Household Members:
Name Age
Robert Kerse 45
Margaret Kerse 40
James Kerse 23
Robert E. Kerse 19
Maggie Kerse 12
Lillie Kerse 10
Leo Kerse 5
Mary Kerse 22
Marie Kerse 1m
Kate Kerse 1m
View
Original
Record

View original image
V

Knowing that the Kerse family had been active in St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia, I called the church and discovered that they had records going back this far and further. Making my request in writing,  I soon learned that Kate’s name  was truly Kathleen.  The church records stated:   “Citation Information Transcription of text Detail Listed parents of Kate and Mary, twins, as James H. Kerse and his wife Mary Catherine Botto. Their written records state they were born on 17 May, 1878, baptized on 25 June, 1879, and Kate died at age 17.”  The church records also state that James H. Kerse and Mary Catherine Botto married  on November 27, 1879, over a year after the twins were born! Born in 1878 or 1880, interesting conflict.

There is another part to Kate’s story that is serendipitous perhaps, or perhaps a direct result of Kate’s work from heaven on behalf of her family–what do you think? Kate’s brother, Thomas Philip Kerse was my grandfather. After losing Kate to infection from her burst appendix, the family was terrified when their only living son Tom came down with the same condition! They hired a private duty nurse to care for him around the clock at the doctor’s suggestion. That nurse was a young woman named Katherine Steptoe Houchins, already engaged to marry another man, but fated perhaps to fall in love with Tom! Katherine was also called Kate.  She helped Tom get well then married him , becoming my mother’s mother, my grandmother! Tom and Kate had seven children, one son and six daughters. They have twelve grandchildren, 15 great grands and twelve great-greats still new to the world!

Life stories are so very interesting, as our families are. With all the twists and turns we are reminded that life is an adventure, with different stories for every individual! I wish I had known Kate, I wish she had lived to be a part of our life! I wonder what it might have been like to have an artist in the family, perhaps encouraging other artists! We never know when we have lost a loved one at a young age, just what we’ve missed by not having them in our lives to learn from, to love, and to be loved by them.  Angels surround you Katie Kerse, and keep you always.

 

St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia, --available on facebook

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia, –available on facebook

 

 

 

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